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11:07 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Dear Annie: Gift gaffe

Dear Annie: On a yearly basis, my employer recognizes employees who have dedicated 10, 15, 20, etc. years of service as well as individuals who are retiring. These employees have their names published in local press and also receive a gift. This past year I completed my 10th year of service. While my name was published, I never received a gift. Everyone else received one, so it’s not that the tradition stopped and I was unaware; mine was just somehow overlooked. My co-workers tell me I should ask about it, but I feel kind of awkward doing so. Is it tacky to contact the human resources department and ask about the gift? — Feeling Forgotten

Dear Feeling Forgotten: It’s not tacky so long as you handle it with tact. Send a short and sweet email to the human resources department. Start by expressing gratitude for their recognizing you in the local press. Then ask about the gift, taking care not to make demands: It is, after all, a gift, not a right. So emphasize that you realize it’s not something you’re automatically entitled to, but you were just wondering if your not getting an anniversary gift was intentional.

Alternatively, if you feel too uncomfortable bringing the subject up yourself, you might ask a co-worker with whom you’re close to do so on your behalf.

Dear Annie: I am a good tipper. I always tip 20 percent for servers, pizza delivery guys, bartenders and baristas because they are serving me in some capacity. What I don’t understand is the tip line on the credit card receipt when I get takeout or ice cream. Is a tip really expected? What is the difference between tipping the girl who hands me my takeout order and the girl behind the fast-food counter or the girl behind the gas station counter? We are not asked to tip these folks.

I feel like a jerk when I draw through the tip line, but I just don’t feel an additional 20 percent is earned. — Confused at the Counter

Dear Confused: You’re not the only one. Many people are confused about whether or not they’re expected to leave a tip for takeout.

The reason you’re not asked to tip employees at a gas station or fast-food restaurant is because those employees are making at least minimum wage. The lines become blurrier in the case of getting takeout from restaurants. Many servers I’ve surveyed said that they depend on those tips, and stiffing them at the to-go counter is as much a problem as stiffing them for table service. But another factor is your state’s laws regulating service-industry wages.

So as much as I hate to say that it depends, well, it depends. I find that, when in doubt, I never regret erring on the side of generosity.

Dear Annie: “Tipped Off” was inquiring about tipping at a doctor’s office. You never heard of tipping at a doctor’s office. You are correct, but it depends. You would never tip a nurse or a receptionist, or anyone fully employed by the doctor.

As a massage therapist of 20 years, I can attest, most massage therapists are not fully employed by the doctor, which means that we do not receive a salary, health insurance, vacation time or sick time. The massage therapist also has to pay licensing fees, continuing education costs and liability insurance! The only way a doctor’s “patient,” who is also a massage therapist’s “client,” can know whether to tip or not is to ask how much of the service fee goes to the therapist. You may also ask if the therapist pays the doctor rent. — Happy MT

Dear Happy MT: Thanks for the tip!

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.